LOUISIANA–Jerry DeWitt, author, former Pentecostal minister, and prominent atheist, is announcing Louisiana’s first “secular” church service on June 23rd and the founding of one of the country’s first secular churches, Community Mission Chapel of Lake Charles Louisiana.
“After 25 years of attending and officiating church services, I know what a force for good they can be. But when an atheist leaves “religion” this becomes a void in their lives. I am founding this church and hosting this service to change that,” DeWitt said.
Jerry DeWitt burst onto the national scene last year when a New York Times profile revealed his harrowing yet inspirational story. Born and raised in Pentecostal churches, Jerry was a devout believer until one day, he found it impossible to pray for a parishioner as requested. His slow journey towards atheism was soon made public when a photo of him with evolutionist Richard Dawkins was made public. DeWitt lost everything as a result of his coming out as an atheist, including his job, his friends, and nearly his home. Despite such struggles, Jerry’s love of community and tradition persists today.
As a result, this service will be unique from other types of secular meetings in that it will create an atmosphere of celebration that religious services in South Louisiana are know for. There will be both secular music and ministry. The service will feature everything that religious communities have come to expect minus any reference to the supernatural.
“Community Mission Chapel will be a full-fledged ‘church’ where those who consider themselves to be non-religious will find a community of like minded people,” DeWitt says. “We’re serious about doing the same job as traditional religious institutions, only without dogma or supernaturalism.”
All are welcome to the inaugural service on June 23rd at 2pm. Location: The Heidelberg Ballroom (10th floor) at Hilton Capitol Center, Baton Rouge Louisiana http://www.hiltoncapitolcenter.com/
The church service will also coincide with the launch of DeWitt’s first book, published by De Capo Press on June 25TH, entitled Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor’s Journey from Belief to Atheism. Both efforts are intended to launch a national post-religious movement–DeWitt describes himself as “graduating” from religion rather than rejecting it–and the start of a more inclusive and understanding type of atheism.
Jerry DeWitt is an American author, public speaker, and leader in the American atheism movement. He is a former pastor of two evangelical churches, who publicly converted to atheism in 2011 after twenty-five years of Christian ministry . He is the author of the upcoming book Hope after Faith: An Ex-Pastor’s Journey from Belief to Atheism, to be released June 25th.